In 2015 the City of Kaohsiung, a coastal city in the south of Chinese Taipei, decided it will take a bold step towards a more forward-thinking urban transportation culture.
For the whole month of October 2017, the city will experiment with ecomobility – a more integrated, socially inclusive and environmentally-friendly approach to urban transport – through the 3rd EcoMobility World Festival. Throughout the month, the streets of the historic Hamasen neighborhood will be a test bed for ecomobile modes of transportation, allowing residents – and visitors from all over the world – to experience a sustainable future for urban transport.
So why did Kaohsiung decide to take on this experiment?
The city is suffering from air pollution, which is largely due to the current modes of fossil-fuel based transportation. It suffers from traffic congestion and accidents, and the streets are filled with cars and scooters, taking most public space away from residents.
Kaohsiung is driven by the vision of a livable city, a city where children are safe in the streets, where the air is pure and where all residents can easily and safely travel through the city. In recent years, Kaohsiung has engaged on a path to transform the city, seeking to make it more livable to its residents. Ecomobility is a key catalyst in this transformation project.
The transformation story has many elements. It is about a city that has a vision for improving the lives of its residents, which requires a new way of thinking about and planning urban transport. This requires operational changes in city government and a new physical design for the Hamasen space. It is also about a joint learning process for Kaohsiung staff and city residents. Together, they are designing this experiment and will ultimately decide what it means for the Hamasen neighborhood and for transportation in Kaohsiung.
The real value of the Festival lies in the fact that is takes place in a real neighborhood, with real residents. It is a true living experiment in transformation, which means the city needs to make a conscious effort to make sure the Festival receives support and creative input from residents.
The city still has quite a bit of work cut out before the Festival. It needs to finish the infrastructure improvements across the city and, most importantly, to keep working with residents to support deeper mindset changes that will allow ecomobility to take root during the Festival and beyond.
Follow us as we tell the story of how Kaohsiung is making this transformation: